La Pouce Rouillé

It’s a RUSTY THUMB!

“He always broke things, fer chrissakes!” my mother says with a disdainful flip of her wrist when describing my youth, as if I had been a chronic poop-tosser. “Well…it wasn’t really, well……. intentional, I suppose,” she says, tilting her head with a scornful eye roll, shrugging with chagrin. Her expression softens as though looking at a dead goldfish. “Things just fell apart in his little hands. Poof!” she adds, fluttering her fingers suggesting a disheartening rain of parts. “I was flummoxed, really flummoxed, ya’ know?” she adds, dredging that word from my childhood and looking up in a look of, why me, Lord?

“It was just...spooky, ya’ know?” she adds, leaning in to whisper conspiratorially. “I seriously considered an exorcism!”

No exorcism, amount of dispossession, voodoo or David Blaine level magic would have made a difference then, nor would it now. Moreover, there has never been any research to find a cause, cure or treatment; none is planned or ever will be.

"Glass Jaw?" "Trick Knee?" "Tennis Elbow?" "Tin Ear?" In comparison, those are as Athlete’s Foot is to Leprosy to this affliction.

In Tom Robbins’ 1976 cult classic novel, "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues," he gave protagonist Sissy Hankshaw enormous, ludicrous ones that she used in expanding her prodigious free spirit.

Thumb (thum) n. The short thick digit of the human hand, next to the index finger and opposable to each of the other four digits

What anthropologists call “evolutionary triumphs,” separating humans from other primates, are liabilities for me. In "Cowgirls," Sissy's were, thick digits, enormous, flour sack-like appendages, as close as one could ever come to being, literally “all thumbs.” Nonetheless, Sissy’s condition was a mighty asset to advance her thumb-intensive avocation, hitchhiking.

The French erected their majestic 18 ton, pouce en l'air, in the middle of the plaza grounds at Arc de la Defense in Paris, France’s Pentagon. It is uncertain if the French intended this forty-feet-high metal sculpture as a friendly “thumbs up!” to the world or a fearsome icon of dread. This is France, why not the middle finger? Constructed in 1994, before the ubiquitous Facebook “LIKE” symbol, the colossal, rust-colored monument by the sculptor César Baldaccini, a faithful replica of his own thumb, or in French, “pouce,” is termed the “Le grand pouce La Défense.”

I have come to know my two ordinary looking thumbs as “Rusty Thumbs,” which sounds better in French, “Le Pouce Rouillé.” However, just as “Green Thumbs” suggestive of causation, not expressive of the thumb’s color, mine are not rust colored.

Others have referred to such deviant digits as “Numb Thumbs” or, when he was tinkering with telephones and typewriters, the humorist James Thurber, of “Walter Mitty” fame, identified his condition as “Dead Thumbs,” himself an unlucky, life-long victim, finally owning up to it in a New Yorker short story. The “Green Thumbs” that most of us are familiar with and envious of, can be described as the antithesis of “Rusty Thumbs,” in thumb parlance, when a person with a green one touches living plants they thrive, bloom, glow with life. Not so with the application of a rusty thumb to most anything with metal parts.

There are no interventions possible; no twelve-step, two-step or even fifty-step programs to mitigate this malady; presumably, even amputation would not solve the problem. The disorder is usually kept secret by the ill-fated who start out in life as my mother describes, and just keep on “breaking things.” It is akin to a person who has never learned to swim, but cavalierly jumps in a lake.

My thumbs have the unusual and unfortunate influence on anything with one or more metal parts that, soon after I touch it, it ceases operation, ultimately rusting. Despite a reluctant knowledge that I am challenged in this way, I go on using devices that I know will mean trouble, often blithely attempting to fix even those that ceased working because I touched them, like a lumberjack trying to repair a felled tree. Seeing “...some assembly required...” should terrorize me, but it never does. I forge ahead like a blind NASCAR driver.

Always hoping for a normal result despite a handful of left-over parts, I am thankful I don’t make my living building IED’s. Inevitably, those who attempt to repair my rusting metal mechanical fatalities will say, in desperation, “I’ve never seen that before!" All international tech support staff of and the makers of my digital meat thermometer, all named “Clark,” are on my e mail Christmas card list.

There is a timeworn anecdote about the hapless patient who tells his physician, “It hurts when I do this," to which the doctor’s weary legendary advice is, “...then, don’t do that.” So, people to whom I relate my thumb challenges tell me, “Why don’t you stay away from mechanical things?"

But our lives are metal-dependent, mechanized, digitized and electrified. Aside from walking, running, horses or camels, getting from here to there involves metal and moving parts. But, my car repair bills look like the original window MSRP sticker, inevitably accompanied by the mechanic’s head shaking, “...dunno, never seen that before!”

Elevators often mysteriously jerk, slow down and then pass the floor I had selected as I keep punching the button, the other passengers thinking I did so after we passed it. I picture the elevator car flying through the roof or thudding to the bottom of the dark concrete shaft. Escalators and moving sidewalks shimmy and shake as if the gears and machinery will come to a grinding, squeaky stop before I can step off. Air travel? Nightmarish! From the baffling beeping of the TSA agent’s wand over my groin to the overhead compartment door on board that will not stay shut until the flight attendant disdainfully taps it closed. Once I get safely past takeoff, thinking I’m good to go, the familiar clunking and screeching begins below my feet after the landing gear has pulled up.

On the more mundane level, door locks freeze up in summer; WD-40 immune, my TV remote either changes channels erratically, pulling in Al Jazeera in Farsi, opens a neighbor’s garage door or receives, rather than 3-D or HD, a hissing 1-D. My “smart phone” is more of a smart-assed phone with single digit IQ. My car NAV system has Alzheimer’s, which, I’m told, is like rusty brain cells. It sends me on mysterious excursions to locations where there are no street names, no sidewalks, no streets. Multi-purpose printers, for me, are purposeless, despite hedge-fund level investments in extended warranties and hours on the phone with “Clark” at the Extreme Elevated Six-X Level of the tech support desk. Ballpoint pens unexpectedly suck the tips back, like a lizard that has just caught a fly, most often when I write a check in the grocery store line. Tricky, multi-use tools and slick kitchen utensils are particularly vexing because they are so easy to use, “...a child can do it..”in those annoying TV infomercials but present a clear and present danger to me.....and, though I got, “but WAIT!” TWO of them, neither work for very long. Ski bindings, tire jacks, fire extinguishers, sliding doors misbehave and/or just stop altogether.

I am knocking on my all-wood desk, at how fortunate I am that this computer............

“It was just…spooky, ya’ know?” she adds, leaning in to whisper conspiratorially.
“I seriously considered an exorcism!”
No exorcism, amount of dispossession, voodoo or David Blaine level magic would have made a difference then, nor would it now. Moreover, there has never been any research to find a cause, cure or treatment; none is planned or ever will be.
“Glass Jaw?” “Trick Knee?” “Tennis Elbow?” “Tin Ear?” In comparison, those are as Athlete’s Foot is to Leprosy to this affliction.

In Tom Robbins’ 1976 cult classic novel, “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues,” he gave

protagonist Sissy Hankshaw enormous, ludicrous ones that she used in expanding her prodigious free spirit.

Thumb (thum) n. The short thick digit of the human hand, next to the

index finger and opposable to each of the other four digits

 

What anthropologists call “evolutionary triumphs,” separating humans from other primates, are liabilities for me. In “Cowgirls,” Sissy’s were, thick digits, enormous, flour sack-like appendages, as close as one could ever come to being, literally “all thumbs.” Nonetheless, Sissy’s condition was a mighty asset to advance her thumb-intensive avocation, hitchhiking.

The French erected their majestic 18 ton, pouce en l’air, in the middle of the plaza grounds at Arc de la Defense in Paris, France’s Pentagon. It is uncertain if the French intended this forty-feet-high metal sculpture as a friendly “thumbs up!” to the world or a fearsome icon of dread. This is France, why not the middle finger? Constructed in 1994, before the ubiquitous Facebook “LIKE” symbol, the colossal, rust-colored monument by the sculptor César Baldaccini, a faithful replica of his own thumb, or in French, “pouce,” is termed the “Le grand pouce La Défense.”

I have come to know my two ordinary looking thumbs as “Rusty Thumbs,” which sounds better in French, “Le Pouce Rouillé.” However, just as “Green Thumbs” suggestive of causation, not expressive of the thumb’s color, mine are not rust colored.

Others have referred to such deviant digits as “Numb Thumbs” or, when he was tinkering with telephones and typewriters, the humorist James Thurber, of “Walter Mitty” fame, identified his condition as “Dead Thumbs,” himself an unlucky, life-long victim, finally owning up to it in a New Yorker short story. The “Green Thumbs” that most of us are familiar with and envious of, can be described as the antithesis of “Rusty Thumbs,” in thumb parlance, when a person with a green one touches living plants they thrive, bloom, glow with life. Not so with the application of a rusty thumb to most anything with metal parts.

There are no interventions possible; no twelve-step, two-step or even fifty-step programs to mitigate this malady; presumably, even amputation would not solve the problem. The disorder is usually kept secret by the ill-fated who start out in life as my mother describes, and just keep on “breaking things.” It is akin to a person who has never learned to swim, but cavalierly jumps in a lake.

My thumbs have the unusual and unfortunate influence on anything with one or more metal parts that, soon after I touch it, it ceases operation, ultimately rusting. Despite a reluctant knowledge that I am challenged in this way, I go on using devices that I know will mean trouble, often blithely attempting to fix even those that ceased working because I touched them, like a lumberjack trying to repair a felled tree. Seeing “…some assembly required…” should terrorize me, but it never does. I forge ahead like a blind NASCAR driver.

Always hoping for a normal result despite a handful of left-over parts, I am thankful I don’t make my living building IED’s. Inevitably, those who attempt to repair my rusting metal mechanical fatalities will say, in desperation, “I’ve never seen that before!” All international tech support staff of and the makers of my digital meat thermometer, all named “Clark,” are on my e mail Christmas card list.

There is a timeworn anecdote about the hapless patient who tells his physician, “It hurts when I do this,” to which the doctor’s weary legendary advice is, “…then, don’t do that.” So, people to whom I relate my thumb challenges tell me, “Why don’t you stay away from mechanical things?”

But our lives are metal-dependent, mechanized, digitized and electrified. Aside from walking, running, horses or camels, getting from here to there involves metal and moving parts. But, my car repair bills look like the original window MSRP sticker, inevitably accompanied by the mechanic’s head shaking, “…dunno, never seen that before!”

Elevators often mysteriously jerk, slow down and then pass the floor I had selected as I keep punching the button, the other passengers thinking I did so after we passed it. I picture the elevator car flying through the roof or thudding to the bottom of the dark concrete shaft. Escalators and moving sidewalks shimmy and shake as if the gears and machinery will come to a grinding, squeaky stop before I can step off. Air travel? Nightmarish! From the baffling beeping of the TSA agent’s wand over my groin to the overhead compartment door on board that will not stay shut until the flight attendant disdainfully taps it closed. Once I get safely past takeoff, thinking I’m good to go, the familiar clunking and screeching begins below my feet after the landing gear has pulled up.

On the more mundane level, door locks freeze up in summer; WD-40 immune, my TV remote either changes channels erratically, pulling in Al Jazeera in Farsi, opens a neighbor’s garage door or receives, rather than 3-D or HD, a hissing 1-D. My “smart phone” is more of a smart-assed phone with single digit IQ. My car NAV system has Alzheimer’s, which, I’m told, is like rusty brain cells. It sends me on mysterious excursions to locations where there are no street names, no sidewalks, no streets. Multi-purpose printers, for me, are purposeless, despite hedge-fund level investments in extended warranties and hours on the phone with “Clark” at the Extreme Elevated Six-X Level of the tech support desk. Ballpoint pens unexpectedly suck the tips back, like a lizard that has just caught a fly, most often when I write a check in the grocery store line. Tricky, multi-use tools and slick kitchen utensils are particularly vexing because they are so easy to use, “…a child can do it..”in those annoying TV infomercials but present a clear and present danger to me…..and, though I got, “but WAIT!” TWO of them, neither work for very long. Ski bindings, tire jacks, fire extinguishers, sliding doors misbehave and/or just stop altogether.

I am knocking on my all-wood desk, at how fortunate I am that this computer………… 00oo ΘΑ έχετε δυνατή η λήψη jatthat;ingBut, * }}T66zzX OH sh ERROR MESSAGE T66398747214-zz/alt

UNKNOWN FAULT

FATAL ERROR 42000 000 00000 PAK98Z001.8-Build9.36Z ERR ERR

<FATAL SYSTEM ERROR>

<FATAL SYSTEM ERROR>

<FATAL SYSTEM ERROR>                                                                     * / zot

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